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#41
sorophx

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Wait, what? They said that thay didn't took a dime from Paradox. Are you saying that was another lie? Obsidian look worse and worse every day now.

they saved money by delegating the job of producing and distributing physical copies of the game to Paradox. I have no idea if Paradox actually gave any money to Obsidian at some point. 



#42
sorophx

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So what are you saying? They need 1 million dollars per month  ? 18 months = 18 million dollars?   Come on.

pretty much, *if* Pillars of Eternity was their only means of generating income.



#43
Althernai

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if I'm not mistaken, Feargus once went on record saying Obsidian burned through roughly 1 million USD each month. so, 4 million would only fund 4 months of development. everything else had to come out of their own pockets. I imagine this is why they have partnered up with Paradox, they need all the extra money they can get to keep the studio opened

Wait, what? They said that thay didn't took a dime from Paradox. Are you saying that was another lie? Obsidian look worse and worse every day now.

You are conflating statements regarding two different situations it a way that leads you to an erroneous conclusion: $1M/month is for Obsidian as a whole whereas $4M is for PoE alone. PoE is not the only game Obsidian is working on; at the very least, there is also Armored Warfare and the Pathfinder card game. Thus, they are necessarily spending more money than the $4M obtained through Kickstarter for PoE. I believe that due to the delay, the cost of PoE did exceed the Kickstarter funds, but not by much (probably something of order $1M) and Obsidian paid it out of their general budget. Note that even with this excess, the cost of PoE is an order of magnitude less than AAA games.



#44
Tigranes

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Althernai is right. Those two numbers have nothing to do with each other, and Obsidian didn't take $ from Paradox.

 

(POE team was about 12 people; the 1m figure is for Obsidian as a ~100 person company.)


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#45
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Let's also remember that the $4M takes a hit from Kickstarter, and then the cost of the physical goods.  Physical goods are a big one, that's why most of the more recent projects are sticking to digital rewards.


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#46
catmorbid

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I don't want to get into speculating budget thingies, sure $4m is a lot of money and you can get a pretty big team for quite a long time with that money, but the important fact is that they delivered the actual game and didn't shoot too far off from the schedule even. I was very positively suprised with that, and with all the problems even the launch was relatively successful in my opinion.

 

My only reason for wonder is why these things keep happening to them, regardless of the years of experience. And the question, or theory, I raised in the OP was:

 

There is something wrong with the communication between the designers and the coders in Obsidian?

 

Because, in my opinion, from a developer's perspective, a good designer is a coder who implements any features they design themselves.

 

Either that or a very disciplined process where you go through very strict iterations of design, implementation, evaluation, re-design. That's probably what the big AAA companies do, and because of that, they can manage their hundreds of staff, but it also results in less freedom between the stages, because everything needs to be documented in the between, and once design is set, you can't deviate until you get to re-evaluation (which is why it's called disciplined).

 

A small indie team basically doesn't need a disciplined process and they can just let creativity flow and the process is constant design-implement cycle, but this is of course problematic when you have to communicate your ideas to someone else, because there usually isn't any kind of documentation.

 

A bit larger teams benefit from agile methodology which basically sets very short-term goals and things are evaluated constantly, but those are generally not so good for massive teams, although you can keep creating smaller individual teams in order to have lots of agile teams.

 

Now, I don't know what's going on in the work culture within Obsidian, but with their track record of bad launches plus the accumulated experience they have as a studio, this leads me to suspect that something's wrong with how they do things. The old "axiom" in software development is that ~80% of IT projects fail (the number isn't really that high, but it's regardless a significant number), and the tons of research done in that show that they fail because the structure within the company, project culture, methodology, or leadership is flawed. Now I'm not saying this is the case with Obsidian, but I am raising the question I presented earlier, because if anything, I want these guys to keep making more great games, but in the meanwhile I'd also like them to get rid of these embarassing problems their games are nearly always riddled with, as well as the bad gameplay bits which are really annoying when there's a lot of awesome content, then some bull**** mechanic etc. which almost entirely ruins the experience.

 

Sure, bugs are everyday in any software, you can't avoid them, but there are certainly lots and lots of ways to minimize the worst ones. When really bad ones come up, it's a sign that something is usually wrong.

 

In fact I'd be very interested in reading through some analysis on some of Obsidian's source code, since that might actually be very revealing: There are these things called "design smells", which can be used to indicate potential problems in source code, and perform some kind of evaluation on the overall quality of the code (google "design smells SOLID" or something like that for more info). Too bad that kind of thing is generally out of the question, unless released as open source.

 

[/rant]


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#47
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Do we have any examples of large scale RPG developers that don't release buggy messes?  Larian is probably the closest that comes to mind.  


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#48
Flouride

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Wait just a second there. Obsidian raised how much, 4 Million dollars? Up front? And had plenty of time to do it.

if I'm not mistaken, Feargus once went on record saying Obsidian burned through roughly 1 million USD each month. so, 4 million would only fund 4 months of development. everything else had to come out of their own pockets. I imagine this is why they have partnered up with Paradox, they need all the extra money they can get to keep the studio opened

Wait, what? They said that thay didn't took a dime from Paradox. Are you saying that was another lie? Obsidian look worse and worse every day now.

 

 

*sigh* The whole studio burns 1 million dollars per month. The whole studio wasn't/isn't working on Pillars. They have several projects. So that 4 million dollars lasted way longer than 4 months. Majority of their staff is working on Armored Warfare and other projects, so when they said they did not take any actual money from Paradox they pretty much meant it since they have other income as well.


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#49
mrmonocle

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Nothing is wrong with obsidian, they're trying their best and are loved for what they are.

 

The short answer is because their games are so complex and offer so much gameplay opportunities it's simply impossible for a programmer no matter how involved and talented to keep track of the whole product. I can't even fathom an automated test for a game like PoE. Everything requires human hand, mind and understanding and humans are not perfect, they make mistakes. The games get polished eventually and I must say PoE vanilla was very polished in relation to the game's scope, it had only 1 major bug and even that bug was solvable. Before lashing at obsidian you should stop and consider for a few hours how much effort it takes to make a game like PoE, a game where the gameplay doesn't seem like a bowel movement by its straightforwardness. A game like PoE must be a soul drainer for a dev and it doesn't yeid as much profit as do other much less dev devotion demanding titles.

 

I'm glad we still have ppl like Obsidian, inXile, HBS and Ice-Pick lodge who persevere in our console age. Yes, their games aren't AAA, but we never asked them to be. Those who wade against the current, I salute you.


Edited by mrmonocle, 07 April 2015 - 07:48 PM.

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#50
ManifestedISO

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"Too much avacado and sunshine, in my professional opinion"

-ShadySands when asked WTF is wrong with Obsidian

 

Dying. Gold. 



#51
Dragoonlordz

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I don't put much faith in the OP's opinion on this usbject. Anyone who does programming knows designing a game of this scale is bound to have some thing slip through the cracks, especially when the work load and development of different aspects are assigned to a varied work force. Even simpler things like mods are quite often very complex to remove any issues and bugs, things that slip through the cracks. The OP did not mention even when asked the specific examples of where his complaints come from, just gave basic generalizations.

 

The game does have issues, does have bugs and glitches but it is a big and fairly complex game so there was bound to be some. As long as they try to fix the issues, patch the bugs and glitches then it is fine. Itis when a developer does not bother like Lionhead with Fable(s) PC versions which becomes a major problem. I also consider the OP's opinion on what system would of been better to use to be far to subjective to be used against Obsidian within the context of his "WTF is wrong with Obsidian" rant.


Edited by Dragoonlordz, 08 April 2015 - 09:51 AM.

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#52
J.Burke

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I just love how all bugs get automatically associated with programmers.  Clearly no bug is a data, design, art, or audio issue. The designers at Obsidian are probably all in Hawaii right now drinking mai-tais while production whips the programmers to get the game/patches done faster.

 

Not to say some issues are not programming related, but any time I see someone illogically, explicitly blame programmers for [all] the issues, I stop reading the post.  Unless you have personal experience making huge games, I don't think pointing fault at a subset of developers is warranted. Complicated games mean complicated issues for all departments involved.

 

I happen to have insider knowledge of how things work at obsidian, and I know all the programmers that worked on Eternity. All of them are very smart. Even Rory. Believe me when I say that they busted their ass every day to make something you all would hopefully enjoy.


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#53
ShadySands

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-snip-

I happen to have insider knowledge of how things work at obsidian, and I know all the programmers that worked on Eternity. All of them are very smart. Even Rory. Believe me when I say that they busted their ass every day to make something you all would hopefully enjoy.

:lol:


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#54
Gfted1

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Do we have any examples of large scale RPG developers that don't release buggy messes?  Larian is probably the closest that comes to mind.  

 

Blizzard.



#55
Elerond

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Do we have any examples of large scale RPG developers that don't release buggy messes?  Larian is probably the closest that comes to mind.

 
Blizzard.

You just can't connect on their server for week after they release the game and even if you can connect by some miracle there will be login issue that throws you back in line and start again connecting with the server. And after week you will find out that there is some issue in how some quest or ability is handled and there will be fix that will cancel most of your effort that you have been able to put in the game :|
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#56
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You just can't connect on their server for week after they release the game and even if you can connect by some miracle there will be login issue that throws you back in line and start again connecting with the server. And after week you will find out that there is some issue in how some quest or ability is handled and there will be fix that will cancel most of your effort that you have been able to put in the game :|


I know that's a problem but its not due to bugs, its due to so many people hammering their servers. I agree they should be prepared for that kind of thing on new product launches but the worst that's ever happened to me was waiting in server queue for a while.

#57
vril

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Hi! I'm a massive fan of Black Isle / Troika / Obsidian as well as a student majoring in Computer Science, a game hobbyist and an amateur game developer. (Disclaimer)

 

As a student and amateur game developer, you have no clue what it takes to ship a final product, simple as that.


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#58
Immortalis

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Hi! I'm a massive fan of Black Isle / Troika / Obsidian as well as a student majoring in Computer Science, a game hobbyist and an amateur game developer. (Disclaimer)

 

So, my question for today is a very profound one, and one that carries a lot of meaning to me, personally, and especially from a game developer studio perspective: What's wrong with Obsidian?

 

Everything starts with Black Isle and Fallout, which (if you're aware of the story around the production) was a general huge mother****ing mess. After Black Isle was shot down, the general messiness seemed to follow with Troika games, who made a couple of brilliant yet very flawed games. After that, the legacy, thanks to a few key individuals and their ideals, was transferred into what is today Obsidian.

 

Now, as a disclaimer, I have to say, I love everything created by these guys: Black Isle Studios, Troika and Obsidian. BI's slogan: "By gamers, for gamers" is still something I keep as an inspiration very close to my heart every single day (as an unknown amateur developer), and what they created is simply beautiful. However, everything created by this troupe and their derivatives has always been somehow fundamentally wrong: bugged as hell, imbalanced as foobar, illogical as hell.

 

My question is: WTF is wrong with Obsidian? Why can't they make solid products? I know there's a lot of tension between publisher - developer relations, that's always a handful and something for an entirely different discussion, but my presumption here today is that:

There is something wrong with the communication between the designers and the coders in Obsidian?

 

Because at many times it seems I'm playing a game with a beautifully designed world with lots of content and shreds of the designers souls visibly poured into every single detail, yet at other times I'm stumbling upon the very simplistic, childish even, mistakes that could be repaired with some simple programming with a little bit of forethought. Are you guys talking? Is there something between, even though this time (PoE) you were independently funded, and no publisher has a **** to say about yoru game? What's the problem?

 

Now, I'm not blaming anyone, I'm simply tryng to inquire some details about your methods into developing games, and whether there'd be something to improve. No doubt I'm going to get a generic response of "yes, we're constantly improving our methods and processes in all areas", but what I'm really interested in is the actual schizms between the programmers and the designers, since that's what I think is the main reason for this outcome.

 

Anyway, while any perspectives are welcome, obviously I'd rather take on some pov's from the crew.

 

You came to the wrong city.. This forum is 80% bleeding hearts that will defend almost every decision Obsidian makes. I think Obsidian is still one of the best companies in the industry right now for making games that aren't complete ****.. however I still fire up my old Black isle games and play them to death.. I couldn't even get past the prologue of Dungeon Seige 3.. it was horrible.

 

South Park was really well done.. but it's like 15 hours long.

 

 

 

 

Do we have any examples of large scale RPG developers that don't release buggy messes?  Larian is probably the closest that comes to mind.  

 

Blizzard.

 

 

Blizzard has a notorious amount of bugs in their flag ship product (WoW).. However I will mostly agree that they do pretty extensive testing of their products, however they have a massive following of dedicated fans that will play the same content for 6 months and continiously report bugs.

 

Obsidian has Sensuki..


Edited by Immortalis, 08 April 2015 - 03:45 PM.


#59
Nonek

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Well it's quite brittle and prone to shattering, though this produces sharp edges that may be used in a similar manner to flint, so whether this is "wrong" may be arguable.


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#60
Luj1

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You came to the wrong city.. This forum is 80% bleeding hearts that will defend almost every decision Obsidian makes.


Aka Obsidrones :D :p :)





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